tips guides on seasonal affective disorder


Have you recently started suffering from an unusually low mood? Perhaps you keep feeling stressed, anxious or tearful, and can never seem to get enough sleep, but you can’t quite pinpoint what seems to be causing these problems. The cause could actually be seasonal affective disorder (SAD)…

The good news is that, whether or not you are suffering from SAD yourself, you now know some of the symptoms to watch out for in your own workers. Here’s how to react when SAD strikes…

1. Be Open and Sympathetic About Struggles with SAD

Don’t necessarily expect your employees to openly admit it to you if they have picked up symptoms of SAD. Some people regard SAD as a mythical disorder – but, on the contrary, this type of depression is a recognised medical disorder, as a Personnel Today article reassures.

The condition arises especially often in autumn and winter, theoretically due to the dwindling light. Therefore, now is the right time of year for you to raise awareness of SAD among your workforce.

2. Arrange for SAD Screenings

If you are considering implementing an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), such as the EAP from LifeWorks, you should make sure that SAD screenings are available as part of it. These screenings are aimed at detecting SAD symptoms you may suspect in your workers.

Even with an EAP in place, the usual stigma around mental illness could make workers reluctant to participate. However, you can put them at ease by portraying participation as typical and natural.

3. Discuss SAD Carefully and Sensitively

Instances of SAD can give rise to an array of symptoms not previously mentioned in this article. Those include flagging energy during the day, poor self-esteem and cravings for sweet foods.

Knowing many of the symptoms makes it easier for you, the boss, to determine that a particular employee may be suffering from SAD. Follow Fast Company’s advice by discussing the issue with the employee in private, showing your concern and encouraging them to receive proper care.

4. Suggest a Varied Menu of Treatments for SAD

There are various means of resolving the problem of SAD – and a SAD-affected employee under your wing might find that, for them, certain methods seem to work better than others.

Examples of treatments you could advocate that the employee tries include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), counselling and – if the GP opts to prescribe them – antidepressants. You could also direct the employee towards charities and other organisations offering help with SAD.

5. Set up Your Workplace Specifically to Combat SAD

Once you know that any of your workers are affected by SAD or at risk of being so, you could do your bit by investing in a light box. This is a light that, in simulating exposure to sunlight, can help to ward off feelings usually associated with SAD.

You could also arrange workstations so that workers get the maximum possible amount of natural light and are encouraged to leave their desks for occasional walks. Even brief exercise can prove surprisingly beneficial.